Children Matter

Exhibition   Works


  • From 27th, January to 1st, April 2018
    Opening Thursday February, 1st at 6pm30
    At LiFE - submarine base, Saint-Nazaire, France

Priscila Fernandes - Ane Hjort Guttu - Adelita Husni-Bey - Liz Magic Laser - Marie Preston

The Children Matter exhibition brings together artists who interrogate the place that contemporary society accords to the child, and, through this, the fundamental values of the adult world and its models of education and transmission. The exhibition lays out a non-exhaustive panorama of the visions of artists, philosophers, theorists and architects whose productions raise questions around emancipation.

Several works presented at the LiFE seek out ways of giving the floor to children. In Ane Hjort Guttu’s video Freedom Requires Free People, young Jens, reluctant to the school system, has a liberated speech which seems to point out a paradox: how can you learn to be free when educational models (in the family and at school) imply a relationship of subordination?

The success of alternative educational models like those of Freinet or Montessori, and a renewed interest in Jacques Rancière’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster, has highlighted the notions of reciprocity and equality in the acquisition of knowledge. Artists and art institutions have picked this up in recent years in the ‘educational turn’: a collaborative way of working in which art becomes a knowledge-producing space and education a possible space for creation. Developed using this approach, Adelita Husni-Bey’s Postcards from the Desert Island shows the limits of this freedom offered to children. Similarly, Marie Preston’s installation Un compodium proposes to think about new forms of collaboration between the different actors that accompany the child’s life.

In his book Taking Care of Youth and the Generations, Bernard Stiegler points to a generational inversion: adults taking less and less responsibility in the face of their children’s consumption of the ‘programme industries’ (television, cinema, Internet and video games). These tools to produce and sell ‘lifestyle’ consider the child as a target for marketing. In their own way, Priscila Fernandes and Liz Magic Laser draw the invisible thread between liberal economy and individual freedom, which crosses current generations. Priscila Fernandes’s video For a Better World reveals the excesses of business and commerce in conditioning children for the 21st century economy. The young boy shown in The Thought Leader by Liz Magic Laser uses personal development methods derived from business management to address an adult audience, returning to them the absurdity of the situation and the search for meaning of our society of the performance.

Finally, a new forum and knowledge sharing structure has been conceived for the centre of the exhibition, that articulates documents, texts and archive material gathered by three researchers around the theme of childhood and the urban environment. Evoking several important historical experiments (the architect Ricardo Dalisi, the district of La Villeneuve in Grenoble ...) this central space testifies to the way in which the questions of the society on the educational models reflect and incarnate in the social space of the city, through the built forms of playgrounds or school architecture, across Europe and in Saint-Nazaire.

With a programme of events to discover the rich and compelling history of the debate around education, the exhibition Children Matter proposes to consider recent artistic approaches, without concession on our current world which strongly recall the topicality of these questions and the urgency to seize them.

Exhibition curators: Sophie Legrandjacques (chief curator), Amélie Evrard, Laureline Deloingce

The Forum is made with the contributions of:
Marie Preston, Artist and Research-Teacher at Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis (AIAC/ Teamed).
Aurélien Vernant, Art and Architecture Historian, Author and independent Curator ; Associated Curator of La Biennale d’architecture d’Orléans (2017).
Marie-Laure Viale, Art Historian, Curator in contemporary art public, Co-director of the association Entre-deux (Nantes).


Priscila Fernandes « For a Better World », 2012
HD video projection, 16:9, colour, sound, 8’19’’

Ane Hjort Guttu, « Frihet forutsetter at noen er fri » [« Freedom Requires Free People »], 2011
HD video, 33’.
Credits Ane Hjort Guttu and Marte Vold

Adelita Husni-Bey, « Postcards from the Desert Island », 2010-2011
SD video transfered to DVD, 22’23’’, oil on canvas, cm 150X250
KADIST collection, Paris

Liz Magic Laser, « The Thought Leader », 2015
Video, single-channel video, 9’. Featuring actor Alex Ammerman.
Script written by Liz Magic Laser based on « Notes From the Underground » (1864) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Speech coach: Kristian Nammack
Directors of Photography: Chris Heinrich and Tom Richmond
Audio Engineer: Nikola Chapelle
Sound Mixer: Scott Benzel
Sound Effects Editor: Molly Fitzjarrald
Color Correction: Alejandro Wilkins
Production Manager: Anna Riley
Production Assistants: Esther Hayes, Jasmine Kyoko and Samantha Rosner
Filmed at Kickstarter in Brooklyn, NY.
Participating actors: Cole Akers, Kelela Blake, Tyler Booker, Travis Branch, Virginia Ferrer, Sein Gay, Jessica Gallucci, Ryan Healey, Joseph Henry, Minki Hong, Kelvin Lofton, Rebekah Loy, Roberto Mugnai, Job Piston, James Pyecka, Mike Quinn, Hobson Riley, Khalid Rivera, Alexis Rosenbaum, Malaika Said, Stephanie Samford, Noriko Sato, Isaiah Seward, Charlii Tv, Alex Xenos and Liz Zito.
Special thanks to Kathy Ammerman, Sanya Kantarovsky, Owen Katz, Ken Laser, Ella Maré, Fabrice Nadjari, Wendy Osserman, Chadwick Rantanen, Anna Riley, Hobson Riley, Hong-An Truong, Esther Kim Varet, Joseph Varet, Tomasz Werner, Kate Wilson, Spencer Wolff and Kickstarter.
Produced with support from Various Small Fires Gallery, Los Angeles.
Courtesy Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam.
French adaptation: Production CAC Brétigny. Translation: Adèle Jacques.

Marie Preston, « Un compodium » [« A Compodium »], 2014-2017
Installation, wood, color photography laminated on aluminum, steel, documents
201 x 60 x 190 cm

Marie Preston, « [-Co] », 2018
Installation, quilt rug, 5 x 7 m
Production LiFE, Ville de Saint-Nazaire

This exhibition is commissionned by Le Grand Café - contemporary art centre. It is produced by the LiFE - City of Saint-Nazaire.
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